Sinema says Democrats oversold expectations on agenda

Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaIRS data proves Trump tax cuts benefited middle, working-class Americans most Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Green groups spend big to promote climate policy MORE (D-Ariz.), a centrist who has frustrated House progressives with her opposition to raising the corporate tax rate as part of President BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE's climate and social spending package, criticized Democrats in a new interview for setting expectations too high for their political agenda. 

“You’re either honest or you’re not honest. So just tell the truth and be honest and deliver that which you can deliver,” Sinema told Politico. “There's this growing trend of people in both political parties who promise things that cannot be delivered, in order to get the short-term political gain. And I believe that it damages the long-term health of our democracy.”

The remarks come as House Democrats prepare to pass a budget reconciliation package that is far smaller than what they'd hoped, in large part due to opposition from Sinema, fellow centrist Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinIRS data proves Trump tax cuts benefited middle, working-class Americans most Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake MORE (D-W.Va.) and House moderates.

ADVERTISEMENT

The budget resolution approved by the Senate allowed for a $3.5 trillion package, which is what Democrats initially crafted. It was then cut back to $1.75 trillion.

It was clear for some time that the package would need to be cut back after the passage of the budget, but Democrats did not really begin to slim it down until this fall.

Debate over the package in the House also held up a separate vote on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, which was eventually approved and sent to the White House days after Democrats lost the race for Virginia's governorship.

Sinema and other centrists had wanted the House to act much more swiftly on the infrastructure bill, which progressives used as leverage for the larger climate and social spending bill. 

In the interview with Politico, Sinema said she “will not support tax policies that have a negative impact on our economic climate," which she sees as the “most important part of what is under discussion."

She also said she supported direct and honest negotiations with her colleagues.

“If you're in the middle of negotiating things that are delicate or difficult ... doing it in good faith directly with each other is the best way to get to an outcome,” Sinema said in the interview. “I'm still in the process of negotiating the second provision of the president's agenda ... and I don't negotiate in the press.”